Beer puts San Miguel Corp in strong spirits

Beer puts San Miguel Corp in strong spirits

Higher beer prices helped San Miguel Brewery to increase sales and profits in the first quarter of 2010, according to parent firm San Miguel Corp.

Net sales at the Philippines-based brewer reached PHP13.35bn (US$297.6m) for the three months to the end of March, up 7% on PHP12.4bn in the same period of 2009.

Higher prices boosted sales, although volume sales also rose by 2% for the period, said San Miguel Corp, which has a controlling stake of almost 52% in San Miguel Brewery. The remaining shares are owned by Kirin Holdings.

Profits rose by 3% to PHP2.74bn, while operating profits leapt by 20% to PHP4.64bn, the group said today (17 May).

San Miguel Corp's international beer operations, which are controlled by San Miguel Brewery but run separately from its domestic business, reported sales for the quarter up by 5% to US$59.7m, versus $56.6m in 2009.

The division cut operating losses to $0.77m, compared to losses of $2.12m last year.

"Volumes were strongest in Hong Kong, Indonesia, Thailand and the Exports business," said San Miguel Corp. It signalled that its beer arm has lost out to rivals in China, however. "The company’s mainland China operations continue to face stiff competition," it said.

Earlier this year, San Miguel Corp said that it would consider selling its outstanding shares in San Miguel Brewery, possibly to Kirin.

As a group, San Miguel Corp reported first quarter profits and sales up by 7% to PHP2.9bn and PHP44.7bn respectively. To view the first quarter results of San Miguel Corp's spirits arm, Ginebra San Miguel, click here.